Meeting with parents can be an extremely stressful situation for new and young teachers. Here are a few tips that can help lessen your anxiety when it comes to open house or just regular meetings with parents.
DO have a folder of student work available to show parents. Whether their child is doing well or not, the folder is proof to the parent that you're doing your job. If the child is doing well then the parent will be pleased to see a lot of assignments with good grades on them. If the child isn't doing well, the folder will emphasize your issues with student absences, tardiness and/or negative classroom behavior.
DO include the student in the discussion. Before you begin speaking to the parent turn to the child and ask "If you were in my shoes what would you want to discuss with your parent right now?" Usually the child will bring up things that you hadn't even thought of. No parent wants to hear bad things about their child but if the child is admitting to bad behavior before you even mention it then the parent becomes less defensive. This helps you gain a valuable ally who won't think that you're just picking on their child. In the future this parent will be more willing to believe you when you have to complain about their child.
DO stay calm and professional in the presence of an angry parent. If the parent becomes too much for you to handle refer them to your immediate supervisor. Never become sarcastic or condescending because that will make the situation worse.
DO thank the parents of the students who never give you problems and who always do well. Praising them will help them continue to positively support their child. This will also help you build a solid rapport with the parent.
Always be prepared! Make sure you have papers graded, rules up, lively looking bulletin boards and an overall inviting looking classroom!
A collection of effective resources, ideas, and practices for keeping parents informed and involved all year long